Short Fiction by Liam Slade / Posted July 4, 2020
I had given Mark three of the best years of my life. I was twenty-seven and thought I could safely assume I was with the man I would soon marry and start a family with. Was I as happy as I could possibly be? Maybe not, but I thought things were good and solid between us. My foolish delusion was shattered one day when I was changing the bedspread and found an unknown pair of panties in the sheets.
That asshole. That unbelievable moron of an asshole. Like I wouldn’t know someone else’s underwear from my own? How long had it been going on that he had gotten so overconfident that he forgot to get his skank to take her undies with her when she left? How much gall did he have that he had her over to our bed, while I was at work? In the bed where I sleep – and now I was changing the sheets she had dirtied.
And I knew who it was, too.
A year ago, Mark had started going to the gym. He had been pudgy ever since we had met, with a cutely cherubic babyface hidden under a fuzzy beard he could never fully grow. I never commented on his size except positively. I had a few extra pounds myself of course – thick thighs run in my family (well, none of us do much running, but all the same.) But so what? He was cuddly and we fit together well. I loved him for it., but he didn’t love himself. Last New Year, he wanted to get “back into shape.” And I let him. I had always been comfortable with his appearance – happy with it, loved it, even. But who was I to tell him to stop if he wants to do a sit-up every now and again, or lift a weight? The membership would pay for itself in open pickle jars and the lack of physical exasperation toward the end of our lovemaking, which increased, to my delight, as he gained more strength, energy, and stamina.
Halfway through the year, I learned the source of this transformation. Her name was Janelle, and she was the personal trainer he had signed on with when he signed up for the gym. She was a short little coil of energy, with tight abs, lean legs, perfectly toned arms, and the tightest, firmest ass I had ever seen on a woman. I imagined she must be a drill sergeant, a nasty piece of work to whip someone into shape. To my annoyance, she was beautiful inside too, with a radiant smile, and an upbeat disposition. She probably never had any problem getting guys, unlike me, who had gone until my twenties before my first date.
I told myself to be okay with it all. I wanted to be cool, the perfect trusting girlfriend. I didn’t want to be like my friends, who snapped at their men anytime they came anywhere near the orbit of another woman. Nobody wants to marry someone who keeps them on such a short leash. So she was hot, an fun, and they spent hours together each week, sweating and grunting, while she was clad in skintight workout pants. That was her job. When he left the gym, she had a dozen other clients to see, and – if I can be fair to Mark – most of them were probably hotter and more appealing than him.
So I let her rebuild him, thicken his biceps and traps and abs, and of course, his self-esteem. Not that he became an Adonis – he loved cheeseburgers too much for that – but his belly hung out over his belt no more. Little did I know she was seemingly sculpting him for herself. I don’t know when it started, but I would guess probably around the time he invited me to come along and start working out with him, and I said no. Despite its flaws, I was happy with my body. And deep down, I felt insulted that he would suggest I needed to, that there was something wrong with me that going to the gym – which I heard as “losing weight” – would fix.
I didn’t see the rifts forming in our relationship quickly enough but in hindsight they were all there. He was quieter and distant. No longer the lovable goofball I had fallen for. We spent more time apart, especially with him at the gym four nights per week. Things that we used to be able to compromise on – where to eat, how to spend the weekend, even what to watch on TV – became full-blown arguments more quickly. He kept telling me I didn’t understand him anymore. I struggled to see how that was true.
When I found Janelle’s XS-sized panties under my duvet, I flipped out. I was not a confrontational person but it was like someone else was in my body, using it better than I ever had, as I told him how shitty he was for doing this to me and not just being a man and breaking it off. He pled innocent, saying it meant nothing and would never happen again. I told him instead, he and I would never happen again and I stormed out, only coming back later for my belongings.
For weeks afterward I seethed with rage about it. I wanted an outlet. I wanted to hit something. Then while driving home from work one night, I passed a gym. Not his gym, thankfully, one on the other side of town. So I decided there was no time like the present, if I had all this anger to burn off. I went in and signed up.
I started on the treadmill. It was good to use up some energy, but I wasn’t satisfied. So I signed up for some Cardio Move. Not bad, now I was used to exercising for long periods. I wanted more. I wanted to punch and kick, so I joined a kickboxing class. That still didn’t quell the aggression in me. So one day, I picked up a dumbbell and started pumping weights.
When I picked up that weight, it was like I had found my calling. From the moment I started doing bicep curls, I thought it felt right. I remember I had a gym teacher, Ms. Whittier, who told me women don’t lift weights because we don’t want big arms. But I thought screw it – I wanted my body to get as big as it could, to house the anger I felt. Working out this way turned that anger into something useful. I began to work out with a singular focus and determination, to leave my old self, the one that had been cheated and disrespected, behind.
Dumbbells became bench presses, became deadlifts as I challenged myself to go further, lift more, to thicken my arms and legs. I saw and felt the muscles developing under my skin, from soft, pliable flesh to thicker, hardened steel.
My body was transforming… and it excited me more than I ever thought it would.
My back straightened into rippling lats and traps. I admired my arms as I flexed in the mirror. I cultivated hard, sculpted abs by doing endless crunches with a medicine ball. I felt my fleshy, feminine breasts shrink and flatten into stiff, functional pectorals, to where I didn’t even need to wear a sports bra when I worked out.
I noticed people at work looking at me differently. I thought, of course they would. It was a pretty radical change, but I liked what I saw. A lean, muscular, athletic figure, and proud of it. I cut my hair short to cut down on sweat. It became hard to find clothes that fit properly, so I just grabbed overshirts from the men’s department.
One day, I spoke up in a meeting, and someone asked if I had a cold, because my voice sounded a little rougher. I didn’t hear a difference and shrugged it off.
A few stray hairs gathered on my chin. Well, it happens, I thought as I waxed them off. I had virtually gotten a new face, pretty and angular but boyish, with high cheekbones and a pointed jawline that I had never noticed myself having. I could have been a model now, something I would never have said about myself before. I knew something had fundamentally changed about me, more than just losing fat or putting on muscle, but I chose not to think about it in terms of what I was or wasn’t. I was still just me.
After a while, I noticed someone I recognized around the gym. Someone much shorter than me, a perky blonde with a tight body and a glowing aura about her.
I approached her. “Hey, you’re new around here.”
She smiled at me. “Uh huh! I’m Janelle, I’m a new trainer here.”
I shook her hand, her delicate little hand, and felt something stir inside of me.
“Alex,” I said, barely suppressing a grin. I didn’t know what was going on with me. I should have hated this woman, but instead I felt oddly compelled. I volunteered, “I’m here a lot.”
She smiled back, warmly. “Guess I’ll be seeing you then! If you ever need a partner…”
I bit my lip. “Sure, sure…”
I kept my distance at first. She didn’t know who I was anyway, and I no longer resembled the person whose boyfriend she had stolen. I thought about changing gyms to get away from her because the very sight of her at first filled me with anger and pain as a reminder of what had happened to me. What she had done to me. But she was too friendly. She would always give me a wave when I would pass her on the way to the cable machines. That evolved into asking each other how well we did today, and other small talk about what was going on in our lives. Somehow over the weeks, that hostility inside of me dissipated. She was so sunny and alluring that there was no way to hate her. Even though, I had always disliked blonde gym bunnies and her worst of all, something inside of me refused to allow it and I softened toward her. I decided she must not have known Mark and I were together. He had lied to her too. We became close.
She never mentioned any kind of boyfriend.
So one day at the end of the night, when she was the only staff member left, and I was the only client, I just came out with it: “Do you want to get dinner sometime?” I asked, taking a deep breath to avoid stammering. I wasn’t sure why I was so intimidated, and yet, something about her made me feel week and gooey all over again.
“Oh, I don’t know,” she hesitated. “I’m on a pretty strict diet… it can be hard to find places I can eat.”
My mouth twisted wryly, “That’s a shame. I don’t believe in diets.”
“Oh, no?” she said, her eyebrow raised.
“No… I just have whatever I want.” I took a step toward her, closing the space.
She looked up at me. “In that case,” she said, “Why don’t we just go right to dessert?”
In unison, we pushed our lips together, her arms wrapping around my broad shoulders, my hands finding her narrow waist, searching up and down her thighs and glutes, feeling every firm yet supple bit of her that I could.
I felt one last twinge of a change in myself. Between the legs, something dormant erupted from inside of me, emerging with a vengeance, thick and hard, and long – at least seven inches, throbbing, ready for her.
We found a mat. I laid back and let her ride my new equipment. I stared up at her in delight as she removed her braid to let her hair tumble down her bare shoulders, throwing her workout top aside. I reached up and cupped her breasts in my hands and felt amazed at the softness against the otherwise tight muscles of her body. I would never look like that. I had never wanted to. I hadn’t realized I had wanted to be this.
As she bobbed up and down, taking me deep inside of herself, I watched her writhe and moan in pleasure, her eyes rolling, her back arching, our sweaty, wet bodies finding the perfect interplaying movements. My pleasure was centred between my legs; it was nearly unbearable how hot and hard it was and I soon exploded inside of her.
This continued for weeks after our workouts. I got good at it – very good. Using my new muscular body, my endurance and power to pleasure her in the ways I knew she would like, experimenting with positions I had never tried before, using muscles I never knew I had. It became my favourite form of exercise, and she the perfect partner. I came to love hearing her moan, pant and scream, “Alex! Alex!”
One night she rolled over to check a notification on her phone and let out a disappointed sigh.
“What is it?” I asked cautiously.
She took a moment to consider what she wanted to say then told me, “It’s the guy I was seeing before we met.”
“Oh,” I said, trying to mask my reaction to learning she was still in contact with Mark.
“Don’t hate me,” Janelle said, “But we were still kind of together when you and I started hooking up.”
I couldn’t quite suppress my smile at that. Knowing I had, with my new body, stolen the woman who had come between us out from under Mark was a bit of a thrill to say the least, and I felt myself getting hard again already.
“He still wants to work things out,” she said with a frustrated sigh in her voice. “I’ve told him there’s somebody else but he won’t listen.”
I bristled at that. Mark had never fought for me.
“Well if there’s anything I can do…” I said softly.
“There is,” she said – and her hand found my erect cock.
Sometime later, we were both at the gym when Mark arrived. He had cut his hair and looked a little different – not as different as I did of course. By now I had grown my stubble into a full beard that Janelle said she liked. I had only a faint concern that he would recognize me but that was allayed when he brushed past on his way to see Janelle.
I watched from a distance on the leg press machine as he walked to her and began to speak aggressively. She tried to walk away but there was not much room to move around and he kept following.
I finally determined she could use some assistance, so I stood up and walked next to her. “Is there something I can help?”
“This is between me and her, okay bro?” my ex-boyfriend said to me, dismissively, looking me up and down as if marking my strangely familiar appearance, but unable to place it.
“Actually, it’s not,” Janelle said. “Alex, this is Mark, my ex.”
“Oh, you’re the Alex guy she’s seeing huh?” Mark said, shuffling anxiously in his stance. The way he said my name now, not even realizing it was still me inside, was startling.
“That’s right,” I said – trying to keep my face stoic instead of smiling in triumph over my ex.
“Well why don’t you just back off and let me and the lady handle things?” he said.
“She doesn’t want to speak to you,” I said. “She’s made it very clear.”
“Just step away, okay meathead?” Mark said with a sneer. “I just need to say one thing.”
“So say it,” I said. Janelle backed up to just behind me.
Mark’s mouth twisted as he agonized over something to say, but I guess the words failed him. I failed to notice his fist clenching at his side. Quickly, he threw a punch and caught me on the cheek that knocked me to the floor. I heard Janelle cry out.
I had never been hit before, not in the face. It stung, and disoriented me, but really it just made me angry.
Slowly, I stood back up. I was shaking a little bit, adrenaline rushing into my blood. I clenched my fist and gritted my teeth.
I could do it. I could throw a punch. I had thrown countless in kickboxing classes over the years. He had thrown the first one, nobody would blame me. There was a heaviness in my chest that was telling me I needed to retaliate. All my rage rushed to my face and I could feel my judgment getting cloudy.
I grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him close.
I narrowed my eyes and sneered.
“You better go.”
He had this look in his eyes like he realized – he wasn’t acting like himself. He was too far gone. Maybe he wished he could take the punch back, and he definitely regretted throwing it in front of Janelle. I looked back to see a stern look on her face as she regarded him.
I let him go. He took a moment, straightened his shirt, and left.
We never heard from him again.
Janelle came to my side with an ice pack.
“Baby,” she said in a soothing voice as she held it to my reddened face, “I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”
I wrapped my arms around her and gave her a kiss on the lips, holding he body to mine.
“Some people,” I said softly, “Need to learn to be better men.”
Copyright 2020 Liam Slade, all rights reserved. To be reprinted only with permission of the author.